How I meal plan each month
So, let me be honest with you. I don’t love grocery shopping. If I am just running in for a few things, I don’t mind, but the whole, walking around for a really long time getting all kinds of things isn’t my favorite way to spend time. So, I try to minimize how often I have to do it. So, for me, and my family, meal planning for the month works. It is time consuming, and I’m sure that there is probably a more efficient way to do this, and some pretty printer ink wasting printables to help, but this is what I do.
First, I write the days of the week down the side of a sheet of paper. I write out four weeks, and this is more of a way for me to cover the whole month than it is an actual plan. For example, just because I might have spaghetti squash and meat sauce written in the slot for the third Tuesday of the month doesn’t mean that’s when we’ll actually eat it. We’ll actually eat when I feel like making it. 😉 Once I have the days written down, I start going through my pinterest, my bookmarks, and my cookbooks to figure out what recipes I want to make. Once I write down a recipe, since I have the link or the cookbook open anyway, I simply turn to a second sheet of paper and write down the ingredients I need for that recipe. If it’s the second (third, fourth….) time I am listing an ingredient, I’ll just make a tally mark next to it on my list. So, I end up with two lists. The first list, is just a list of what I plan to cook for the month, and it looks something like this:
Now, if I have a really long list, and some extra time, I might reorganize the shopping list into sections, (meat, produce, frozen, pantry) to make it easier in the grocery store, but that part is hit or miss for me. I also sometimes make a note, next to the recipe, to tell me where it came from (page number of what cookbook, for example). That just saves me some time trying to find a recipe when it comes time to do the actual cooking.
You might notice that I only write down something for dinner. I tend to eat similar things for breakfast and lunch, so I just tend to add them to the grocery list part, instead of the meal plan list. I also usually leave a space or two open for left overs or whatever. Also, I never buy all of the produce at once. I usually run out once a week (Or ever few days, sometimes) to get what I need. I would hate to have it go bad before I get to eat it all.
So, that is how I meal plan for the month. Do you meal plan? How does your system compare to mine? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!